Sunday, December 8, 2013

Reaction Wars [Hyperpath Review]

         Most strategy games, from plain chess to the newest RTS', let you have all the time you want to think your moves out. Even with that, they can be quite hard to play, as people tend to not value that time and do things swiftly, botching their moves up. With limex's Hyperpath, however, the situation's different; you have to think out moves in a split-second, and manage beat the opponent in the process.
         The graphics are well-made, with spaceships, planets and almost everything, really. While most of the game looks quite unrealistic (for example, never in my life did I see a lemon-coloured stripe zig-zagging through any real planet), it still feels like you are battling real armies, and it doesn't bother you at all.

(But how all those planets get arranged like this and survive without a sun is still a mystery.)

          The sounds were not that developed, perhaps thinking about people who'd rather listen to their own tunes. The music is nearly nonexistent (apart from an eerie little sound in the background), but they did care about the sound effects, such as the planes starting up (and the minor voice acting drowning in that), or the planes exploding when ramming into a planet, which, misses the point of "capturing planets" entirely.
          Then we have the gameplay on our hands. We control a small race, the "Terrans", trying to conquer all other races in the neighborhood to avoid overpopulation, and ugrading our ships in the process. You are given a number of opponents with a lot of planets to conquer, and battle it out with them. First, all of you start with a shield against enemies for every planet you have, and the ability to capture neutral planets by sending units from your planets. Every planet you conquer gains the same shield, and if your units ram into a shield other than yours, you lose all those units. That makes you have to react quickly to your opponents' moves against you, as attacks are made in a split second, and idling will make you start out small. (Protip: AI attacks the same planet in this phase as you, so you can troll them by capturing a planet near you swiftly and laugh how they waste their units ramming into your shield.) 

(That's what you get for all that lag in the MMO's!)

          Then, after a few seconds, the shields get removed, allowing everyone to attack eachother. That's when the immense concentration and fast reaction will come in handy. Most matches are done 20-30 seconds after shields are removed, even less. Over that amount of time, as many as 4 races are conquered. That's how fast things go over. Of course, this means the opponents are a bit easy to beat, but this is also when all races' benefits get unveiled in action, because every one of them except you has one, of course. These range from having triple power for attacking neutral planets, to being just a living bomb that has the potential of changing the game entirely depending on the situation.

(There, level complete! Those purple ones were kind of a pushover, wonder wh-) 

(Oh dear God, WHY DID YOU DO THIS.)

          Once you finally go through the enemies in the level, you gain "upgrade points" which you can use to upgrade your spaceships' attack and speed, or your planets' defense and population growth. Each one of these have their own importance, from getting to planets earlier to ensure capturing to building up a greater force faster.
          The concept itself is not new (Phage Wars 1 & 2 used the concept first, probably), but each of the races having their own power in such a game spices it up enough to make for an enjoyable piece of strategy gaming. Adding to that fact is that, for a while, you can customize your race to become either a swift attacker or a race which builds up an army slow and destroy everything like a tank. Though, ultimately, the goal is to get full on all 4 aspects, it's quite enjoyable to build your own race in the meantime.
          Finally, the other aspects. While the game is mainly focused on mobile (seen by the disturbing amount of races being App Store-exclusive), it still manages to be a great game online, not just a demo. The game also has many easter eggs and small features to notice (for example, one of the races is named GR-8 and there's a rank system hidden in plain sight that has nothing much to do in the game), but one of the most interesting one is that first picture above. Look way back there, I'll wait. Done? Did you recognize what you get once you connect those planets? Yup, in a game where there's absolutely no option to zoom out other than scroll down then up again because the screen also scrolls, they just made it so the levels connect themselves to create a comet. That's how much the creator cared about hiding easter eggs.


          Graphics: 5/5 (This game has well-made, detailed graphics that make the game that much better.)
          Gameplay: 4/5 (Being a fast-paced strategy game, this only gets a minus because the opponents are a bit of a pushover later on.)
          Innovation: 4/5 (While the concept is not unique entirely, the game puts a bit of new things into almost every level, gradually.)
          Sound: 3/5 (Almost absolutely no music, but the sound effects which interrupt the silence are enough to make that equal.)
          Other: 4/5 (With many easter eggs there, hidden in plain sight, this game has plenty to explore even outside the main gameplay.)

          Overall: 20/25, 4/5 (This game is a great start for people starting to get into strategy games or die-hard fans alike, with its long and entertaining gameplay and graphics, unique races and outside-game things to explore.)

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